MCPS Board of Education now features all women

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MCPS Board of Education now features all women

Graphic by Helen Qian

Graphic by Helen Qian

Graphic by Helen Qian

Hrithasma Pant, News Writer

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Following the election on Nov. 6, in which the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Board of Education now comprises of all women—a first in the Board’s history.

The Board’s former President Michael Durso, who was the only male member of the previous Board, did not run for reelection. This left seven female candidates to compete for four open spots. Karla Silvestre defeated Julie Reiley for the Board At Large. Incumbent Judy Docca defeated Maria Blaeuer for District 1. Incumbent Patricia O’Neill defeated Lynn Amano for District 3. Brenda Wolff won unopposed for District 5.

The first Board, created in 1817, consisted of nine men. The first woman on the board was A. Dawson Trumble, appointed in 1920. In 1953, the Board adopted an election system and only two years later, the first woman was elected to the Board, Rose Kramer. Since elections began, 49 men and 30 women have been elected.

“Certainly it sends the message to all of our students, female and male, that women can do anything and are great leaders,” Jeanette Dixon, an At-Large board member, told Bethesda Magazine. “It is about electing the best person for the job and illustrates that we have come a long way as a society, as we never commented when organizations and institutions were all male in the past. This all-female board will be a natural progression of the work women have done as educational activists.”

This year’s Student Member of Board (SMOB), senior Ananya Tadikonda, is also female, one of only eleven female SMOBs since 1978.

“I am very proud of Montgomery County for moving so progressively towards equal representations in our elected officials,” Tadikonda said. “I believe this is a huge step forward to ensuring all perspectives are brought to the table when discussing issues.”

Several of the candidates ran on campaigns to expand early childhood education, close the achievement gap, and increase transparency. Tadikonda hopes that the increased female representation will allow the Board to emphasize important issues.

“I believe issues including the dress code and consent education will come to more light as the perspective of the Board has now completely changed with all women members,” she said.

Several RM students also believe that the all-woman Board will bring positive changes.“It is a great way to inspire other women stepping into leadership roles,” sophomore Anh Tran said.